Drama Reviews, Taiwanese Dramas

Drama Review: The Wonder Woman (跟鯊魚接吻)

The Wonder Woman (跟鯊魚接吻, lit. Kissing a Shark) is a workplace rom-com starring Aviis Zhong as Du Ai Sha, a marketing director at Chic Fashion known for being a shark, and Wes Lo as Yi Fei Yang, the CEO of hot new startup Golden Man. Ai Sha and Fei Yang clash from the moment they first meet, but Fei Yang doggedly pursues her and eventually she starts to warm up to him.

I’m surprised by how much I enjoyed this show, and I attribute it to Du Ai Sha’s character and Aviis Zhong’s performance. Du Ai Sha is a multi-faceted character. At work, she is ruthless and demanding. From the start, I resonated with her struggles as a woman in the corporate world. The first episode ends with a monologue explaining why she has to be a shark: she has to keep moving forward and grab every opportunity she can because she’s a woman and any mistake or failure will discredit her.

Ai Sha also has a complicated relationship with her family: a father who abandoned her at a young age, an older brother who is unable to hold down a steady job, a younger brother who failed the college entrance exam, a mother who has always criticized her — saying no one remembers those who finish second — and favored her brothers.

The Wonder Woman is strongest when it focuses on Ai Sha. My favorite episodes of the show were toward the end, around episode 14 and 15, when the focus shifted away from Ai Sha and Fei Yang to Ai Sha and her family. For most of the show, we see Ai Sha’s family through her eyes: ungrateful freeloaders who don’t appreciate her despite the money she sends them. But Ai Sha is also forced to consider the ways in which she has used money as an excuse and a way to avoid confronting her family in other ways.

Ai Sha’s conversations with her mother are the only parts of the show during which I cried.

When the narrative strays away from our main wonder woman is when it gets a little weaker, simply because the rest of the characters and acting don’t hold up as much without her.

Fei Yang, the primary love interest, is a classic man-boy of a tech bro. He’s adorably puppy-like, but mostly shines in his scenes with Ai Sha. What I liked best about Fei Yang and his relationship with Ai Sha is that he has always recognized Ai Sha’s talent and has always viewed her as an equal. A lot of corporate dramas feature a romance that includes some sort of boss-employee imbalanced power dynamic. We get none of that here. Instead, Fei Yang and Ai Sha have a true, complementary partnership.

Ye Xuan (Jack Li), Ai Sha’s childhood best friend who has silently liked her for forever, is a classic nice guy character. He’s rather benign and mostly fades into the background. Perhaps the biggest purpose he serves is to be another source of resentment toward Ai Sha for her assistant, Tang Xiao An (Chang Chin Lan).

Xiao An should have been a much more compelling character than what she ended up being. She starts off supremely unconfident but secretly ambitious. She admires Ai Sha, but that admiration gets twisted into envy and resentment when several factors combine and make Xiao An feel inadequate. Her most notable moment is when she gives a monologue that’s almost an exact echo of Ai Sha’s monologue in the first episode, but Xiao An’s interpretation of those same words is very different from Ai Sha’s.

Qi Zhen Kai (Gabriel Lan), Fei Yang’s older brother, is not really any more compelling than Xiao An. In some ways, he feels more one-dimensional, with a one-track mind when it comes to his ambition and motivations. But Gabriel Lan’s performance makes him seem slightly more interesting, if only because he does a great job of portraying the split-second mood swings and quiet rage that seems to be simmering beneath Qi Zhen Kai’s surface.

The side character whose trajectory I enjoyed the most is Wen Jing Jing (Demi Yin), Ai Sha’s rival at work. She and Ai Sha clash mainly because their strategies are very different. Both are ambitious, but Jing Jing uses connections and people to achieve her goals while Ai Sha relies on herself. Jing Jing frequently goes out drinking with primarily male business partners, while Ai Sha spends late nights in the office. Neither approach to work and business is more or less valid than the other. They are both professional women trying to achieve success in ways that play to their strengths, and I love that the drama shows that both should be equally respected.

Jing Jing also has her own cute side romance and one of the montages during one of the episodes broke my heart a little.

Overall, The Wonder Woman is very enjoyable and a feel-good watch. It never really frustrated me and only rarely did I want to take some of the characters by the shoulders and shake them (never the main characters!) I do wish our side characters got a little more development, and the ending was underwhelming to me simply because the focus shifted away from Ai Sha, but I don’t want to let the finale overshadow the earlier parts of the show that were so great!

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